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Animal bites: When rats bite, humans suffer

Some people really detest all types of rodents, including rats, and other people believe these creatures get a bad rap in most cases. Regardless of your own opinion about rats, you should know that these hardy animals still thrive in the United States. Whether they are pets or pests, rats that bite can bring many kinds of suffering to victims.

Where can you encounter rats?

Assuming that your own home is free of rodents, you can still encounter these animals in many situations. Examples include:

  • Pet stores
  • Hotels
  • Personal residences
  • Commercial establishments

In each of these cases, the owner of the property has a duty to protect visitors and guests from reasonable harm, including harm caused by animal bites. For example, if your neighbor keeps rats as pets and invites you to dinner, he or she should make sure the pets cannot injure you. If a free-roaming rat bites you, the owner may be liable for the injuries you suffer.

Rats have large teeth and can deliver a painful bite that may or may not become infected. Further, some rats carry and transmit serious diseases such as Hantavirus and spirillary and/or streptobacillary rat bite fever. Left untreated, these diseases may threaten the life of an animal bite victim. Even when addressed early on and treated properly, bites from a rodent will undoubtedly mean costly health care expenses.

What can victims do?

Depending upon how and where you experienced your bite injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the rat owner or property owner. For example, if you stayed in a Pennsylvania hotel and suffered a rat bite while you slept, you may have grounds to file a claim against the hotel owner. In any case, it is wise to consult with a legal professional about the details of your particular situation.

Source: Orkin, "Rat Bites," accessed May 02, 2018

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